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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Front Sway Bar Tinkering...(renamed)

I'm drilling a set of adjustment holes into the stock bar - there is enough room to add some and still use the stock bar links. While I'm at it I'm replacing the stock squishey rubber mount bushings with custom poly bushes. So my bar mounts are off the car - check it out....note the base plate that rides against the frame to spread out the load. The stock bar is a hollow 19mm ~ 3/4 inch unit. I think the car should respond well to more front bar in an autocross setting. A noticeable bump in front bar stiffness can be accomplished with a bush swap since the stock rubber pieces are so very soft you can squish them by hand.

 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have noticed that there are "200 %" and "300 %" stiffer front bars available from the aftermarket. So others have gone down that path.

In this case, give some crude measurements of the arm length, it appears that the front bar can be made about 20-30% stiffer via another hole or two for the end link.

And about the same for the stiffer bushings since the bar will need to be twisted instead of the bushing first squishing some more under load.

So at a quick guess I think I can wind up with about 40-60% more bar rate via these little changes.
 

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Can you post a pic of the bar after you have drilled the new holes, I'd love to see it. Where did you order the upgraded bushings from?
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Okay the sway bar mods are done and on the car!

* The bar is now adjustable to a stock or stiffer setting. The bar looks normal except there is now another hole on the flattened portion of the bar before it changes to a round cross section. See the belowmost image. You can change to either setting without jacking up the car. There is room for a softer than stock setting but I see little value in that option presently.

* Poly bushes instead of the stock soft rubber bushings. I measured the durometer of the stock bushes and they are at around 65 which is much softer than the LTS tires which are at around 72. Here's a PIC showing the new bush and the grease fitting I installed:



The bush is just a black poly generic from Energy Suspension which I modified to fit into the Lotus bar mount. You can choose red or black. It's durometer is super firm but I did not measure it. More or less there is zero give with this bush, so the bar kicks in sooner and should act roughly 20% firmer from that alone. When installed, the grease fitting is easily reached without jacking up the car or taking anything apart.

There is plenty of room in the frame for a larger diameter sway bar...the stock mounts can handle this it appears... or new mounts could be used with precautions to suit our aluminum frames and function without hurting anything.

BTW while I had the wheels off I painted the portions of the clam that I thought should be black. Inside the wheel well that is. On my SY car the yellow portions are too bright and you can see bright yellow paint with lots of road grime on it from outside the car standing next to it. There is a small yellow section in the front of the well and a larger one in the back. Blackening them makes the car look more finished. Portions of the frame are already painted black so maybe Lotus gave this some thought too, but did not fully follow through. There are also similar spots in the back of the car. This is an easy thing to do using a foam brush, flat black paint and maybe a q-tip or small brush for a few hard to reach areas. There is no need for tape or whatever.

Note that the early Elise sway bars used nylon mounts which wore and caused problems so they went to the rubber mounts. The trouble with that is that the bar is now softer than originally specified due to this factor. We have the version on the RHS of the image below.

 

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Discussion Starter #6
Has anyone tried out the Euro aftermarket sway bars?

As far as I know I'm now running with the only souped up front sway bar in America. You can't really feel any difference on the road, but when I autocross it we'll start to get more of a sense of the changes at-the-limit.
 

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Thanks for the info. One thing that I wanted to mention is that I run a stock class S2000 and I use an adjustable front sway bar that I usually have set to about 3x the stock front bar rate for that car (its needed due to the R compound tire widths front and rear that I use compared to stock). If you look at pics of my car at full roll with this bar it still has a very large amount of roll. So you may find that as you increase the stiffness of the front bar you may get added push way before it has a noticable effect on body roll.
Let us know how the car feels after your next event with the bar on the stiffer settings, I'm very curious.
Thanks
 
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